Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki
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(except in Rebirth)

SPEED! is Challenge #22. In this challenge, all enemies are sped up as if under the "speed up" effect of the Collectible Broken Watch iconBroken Watch. Isaac also has greatly increased movement speed. The goal is to defeat Boss Mom's Heart ingameMom's Heart or Boss It Lives ingameIt Lives with a "soft" time limit of 16 minutes.

Difficulty[ | ]

This is arguably one of the hardest challenges in the game, for two major reasons. Firstly, the increased speed for both the enemies and Isaac can make most routine rooms and bosses challenging. More importantly, the 16-minute soft time limit is also very hard to beat and may force the player to forget exploring for rewards that might have helped them later on. Note that the time limit is not a "hard" one and that the game is not over when the countdown timer reaches 0; however, from that point onwards Isaac will start taking half a heart of damage every 10 seconds, or a full heart of damage starting from chapter 4.

Strategy[ | ]

General[ | ]

  • Health is always important, but even more so in this challenge. Not only will health compensate for the damage taken, be it from the more difficult rooms/bosses or the timed damage, but it can also be used for Devil Deals to access its high DPS item pool. Items that generate health or protection thus help greatly, These include Collectible The Wafer iconThe Wafer, Collectible Cancer iconCancer, Collectible Yum Heart iconYum Heart, Collectible Unicorn Stump iconUnicorn Stump, Collectible Prayer Card iconPrayer Card, and many many more.
  • Collectible Blank Card iconBlank Card is a powerful item in this run, as there are cards and runes such as IV - The EmperorIV - The Emperor, XIX - The SunXIX - The Sun, Rune of AnsuzRune of Ansuz, and Rune of EhwazRune of Ehwaz, all of which can enable faster progression through the game. Certain cards and runes, such as V - The HierophantV - The Hierophant, VI - The LoversVI - The Lovers, VII - The ChariotVII - The Chariot, XIX - The SunXIX - The Sun, Rune of AlgizRune of Algiz, and Rune of DagazRune of Dagaz, can also act as health regeneration or protection to counteract the timed damage or the increased difficulty in general.
  • Getting the Collectible Stop Watch iconStop Watch will make this challenge easier, since it will slow all enemies in the room when Isaac takes damage, counteracting their increased speed.
    • (in Repentance) Stop Watch no longer requires the player to take damage in order to activate the slowing effect.
  • Collectible The Ludovico Technique iconThe Ludovico Technique shouldn't be picked up without high shot speed, as it will move slower than most enemies.
  • Since Isaac starts with increased speed, Collectible Taurus iconTaurus can be used to start every room with the Collectible My Little Unicorn iconMy Little Unicorn effect making it effective for clearing rooms quickly. The invincibility from it can also block timed damage occasionally.
  • Collectible The Bible iconThe Bible can be used to instantly kill Boss Mom ingameMom and Boss Mom's Heart ingameMom's Heart/ Boss It Lives ingameIt Lives, making it a more valuable item in this run. In the same vein, (in Afterbirth † and Repentance)Collectible Plan C iconPlan C is also useful, though only against the final boss.
  • (except in Repentance) (in Afterbirth † and Repentance)Collectible Clicker iconClicker can be used to change Isaac into a more powerful character such as Character Azazel iconAzazel or Character The Forgotten iconThe Forgotten, allowing the player to clear rooms more quickly.

Speed run[ | ]

  • If the player wishes to beat the timer, it might be a good idea to cut down exploring to a minimum. Find and visit the Treasure Room, occasionally the shop, and the boss, then move on as soon as possible. Collectible The Compass iconThe Compass, Collectible Blue Map iconBlue Map, Collectible Crystal Ball iconCrystal Ball and Collectible The Mind iconThe Mind are very useful if this is the desired strategy, as is IV - The EmperorIV - The Emperor card. Floor skipping with Collectible We Need To Go Deeper! iconWe Need To Go Deeper! and such are also valuable time-savers, as long as the player is confident with their current set of items.
  • Isaac's highly increased speed is a powerful asset to rapidly completing this run but can be dangerous as the player may accidentally run over spikes or into enemies/bullets that they otherwise would not run into. It is important to be careful and adjust to the speed-up.
  • Anything that could help to clear rooms faster is going to alleviate some of the difficulty of this challenge. Damage and Tear boosting items are thus a potential priority, making Devil Deals desirable because of their DPS heavy item pool. "Room clearer" items such as Collectible Toxic Shock iconToxic Shock and "Boss killer" items such as Collectible Head of Krampus iconHead of Krampus are also very useful for speeding up progress.
  • (in Repentance)Collectible Jacob's Ladder iconJacob's Ladder, after its rework, is now extremely effective in clearing out groups of enemies even if they're not hit directly. Not only does this make the item great at clearing rooms, it also compensates for the heightened difficulty in landing shots due to the general speed increase.
  • Avoid Challenge Up (i.e. Purple HeartPurple Heart, Collectible Champion Belt iconChampion Belt) since Champion enemies are not only much harder to kill, they will also take much longer to kill, and the player is already short on time.
  • Boss RushBoss Rush is likely to appear on this challenge if the player is trying to beat the timer, but it should be avoided unless there is a way to teleport out of it or skip it.
  • Using Bombs for damage or skipping rooms might be necessary if one wishes to beat the timer. Automatically-replenishing explosives (Collectible Ipecac iconIpecac, Collectible Dr. Fetus iconDr. Fetus, etc.) will greatly aid the player in being to do this. However, Dr. Fetus and Collectible Epic Fetus iconEpic Fetus may also make it more difficult to kill enemies, their timed nature making it harder to land the attack.
  • Collectible Black Candle iconBlack Candle is a valuable item to purchase from the shop, as it prevents Isaac from being afflicted by Curse of the LostCurse of the Lost and Curse of the MazeCurse of the Maze, both of which can waste precious time. The Rune of DagazRune of Dagaz will also remove curses for a single floor if used.
  • Collectible Teleport! iconTeleport!, if used wisely, can save a lot of exploration time by teleporting whenever Isaac doesn't appear to be near rooms of interest. This will inevitably cut down the number of rooms that the player needs to explore.
  • Collectible Mom's Knife iconMom's Knife, combined with Collectible Unicorn Stump iconUnicorn Stump, can make the challenge laughable; the invincibility every room combined with the huge amount of damage the knife gives you on contact can sweep even 2x2 rooms in seconds without worrying about damage (so long as you don't run out).
  • (in Repentance)Collectible Mercurius iconMercurius opens most doors, thus avoiding the need to clear rooms. This massively reduces the time spent on each floor and allows quick exploration for Special Rooms, making the challenge far easier.
  • Finding a LibraryLibrary can make or break a run, as it may contain Collectible The Bible iconThe Bible, or enough books to trigger the Bookworm transformation.

Slow and Steady[ | ]

After 16 minutes, the periodic damage taken every 10 seconds can be counteracted by generating enough health or obtaining enough protection against said damage.

  • The timed damage can be absorbed by the Collectible Holy Mantle iconHoly Mantle, making it an even more valuable asset since Isaac can leave the just-cleared room the way he came, re-enter it, wait until the timed damage is dealt, and proceed. By doing so, Isaac can get a 20-second buffer (10s if hit) to rinse and repeat the process without taking any damage.
  • Collectible Pyromaniac iconPyromaniac and explosives (Collectible Curse of the Tower iconCurse of the Tower or any other way to get a lot of bombs) allows Isaac to survive long after the 16-minute limit, and in the case of Pyromaniac with automatically-replenishing explosives such as Collectible Number Two iconNumber Two, very likely the entirety of the run.
  • Collectible Guppy's Paw iconGuppy's Paw in the late game can potentially give the player up to 6 minutes of borrowed time, 12 minutes with The Wafer, and even more if the player happens to find HP upgrades in the final moments of the run.
  • Collectible Isaac's Heart iconIsaac's Heart makes Isaac completely immune to the timed damage. However, because of the increased speed of your player and enemies, beware that dodging may be more difficult.
    • (in Repentance) Isaac's Heart no longer provides immunity to the timed damage.
  • Several Collectible Sharp Plug iconSharp Plug + Collectible The Wafer iconThe Wafer/Collectible Cancer iconCancer combos will also allow effectively infinite health.
  • Items that grant health or protection on hit such as Collectible Old Bandage iconOld Bandage, Collectible Gimpy iconGimpy, Collectible Virgo iconVirgo, and Collectible Celtic Cross iconCeltic Cross are useful for surviving past the timer in general.
    • (in Afterbirth † and Repentance) The items above are also more effective when in possession alongside Collectible Dull Razor iconDull Razor.

Notes[ | ]

  • Before a patch, Isaac moved at normal speed while all enemies moved faster. It was changed to give Isaac increased speed, as the challenge was deemed to be unfairly difficult before.

Reward[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • If Isaac dies to the timed damage, his will depicts a stopwatch where normally a sketch of the enemy that killed Isaac would be.

Bugs[ | ]

Bug Bug! (in Repentance) During the mom fight she does significantly fewer attacks making the fight especially difficult as the only way to hurt mom is to trigger the hand attack.
Bug Bug! (in Repentance) If you successfully complete the challenge after the soft limit, you can still fail by taking ANY timer damage while the trophy-gathering animation is taking place. Taking timer damage during the trophy-gathering animation will cause your inputs to freeze and the trophy to disappear without actually finishing the challenge. You must either die or exit & re-enter the game if this happens.


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